There are currently 9000 students catered for by 30 academic departments, and York consistently ranks in the top 10 best UK unviersities.
The university was opened in 1963 when it admitted 200 students. At the time the university consisted of three buildings; principally: King's Manor (former residence of Thomas Wentworth, and one-time headquarters of the Council of the North), and Heslington Hall (former residence of Thomas Eynns, Secretary and Keeper of the Seal to the Council of the North).
In 1964 work began on the campus facilities in the grounds of Heslington Hall. The marshy land was drained to form what was at the time the largest plastic-lined lake in Europe. University buildings were assembled around the lake using the CLASP system of prefabricated construction. The architect was Andrew Derbyshire.
The stand-out building of the university is Central Hall, a half-octagon shaped concert hall which has been likened by many a student to a crashed space-ship.
The buildings of the university are split into "colleges", although these colleges bear more resemblance to a school house-system than the collegiate structure of say Oxford or Cambridge. The colleges are, in order of construction:
The University of York has, in its past, played host to a number of concerts by celebrated rock musicians, including Jimi Hendrix, Soft Machine, Pink Floyd, and Paul McCartney. Pop music performances by big-name acts have been rarer at the university following a performance by the Boomtown Rats in 1985, during which the Central Hall venue was damaged. A ban on pop performances in Central Hall was imposed, although it has occasionally been waivered, and Central Hall is still sometimes used for classical concerts (although most classical concerts are held in the music department's Jack Lyons Concert Hall).
While Central Hall is probably the biggest venue on campus, it is hindered by being designed for use as a seated venue only. However, the college buildings continue to hold pop concerts, and Derwent in particular has managed to attract the occasional headline band. The Students' Union doesn't have a venue of its own, which is said to have had its role in the reduction of famous-name acts.